Are you an Intentional Socialite or an Incidental Socialite?*
A what or a what? I’ve never heard of those terms.
Of course not. I just made them up.
Well then how can I answer the question if I don’t know what they are? Maybe if you explained them first?
Oh. I guess you’re right. Okay.
An Intentional Socialite is one who actively pursues social interactions with others. They’re the ones who hold dinners, organise nights out or coffee catch ups or who are only interested in going to see a movie if it’s with a group of friends.
Makes sense. And an Incidental Socialite?
An Incidental Socialite experiences social contact in the context of another activity. A chat over coffee after church or community singing, catching up during a break in a theatre rehearsal or art class, the brief “How’s it going?” exchanges after a meeting or waiting to pick up kids in the school playground, even purely social events as long as they’re predictable like Friday night drinks after work or a weekly coffee date at the same cafe.
I think I understand.
Good. So which one are you?
I need to think about it. I’ll let you know in the Comments.
So which one are you, then?
Me? Oh, definitely an Incidental Socialite. Well, except for a brief period at the end of my 30s when I actively pursued social contact with the support of a psychologist in a challenging time of my life.
What made you stop?
Psychologists are expensive.
Ha ha. Couldn’t you do it without the psychologist?
As a shy introvert? No. Not for long, anyway.
Did it concern you?
Not really. That’s the beauty of Incidental Social Contact, you don’t notice that you don’t really have a social life.
So what made you come up with this concept?
Too much long distance running by myself. Nowhere to go but inside my own head.
Very funny. But there must have been some reason the thoughts were there.
Hm. Yeah, there was.
Well, you know how I said I wasn’t concerned about not having intentional social contact?
Lately I have been.
Been what? Concerned?
Well, that was the question, wasn’t it? Why? Why now after all these years?
And I realised I was noticing a lack of social contact with people because almost all of my incidental social opportunities have disappeared.
I see. How did that happen?
Hard to say. Life changes, you know? Some things ended by choice. Some not. Even with work, I’ve gone back to casual teaching and work offers have been thin on the ground so even brief staffroom chats over lunch aren’t happening.
So what are you going to do? As an Incidental Socialite?
Get used to my own company?
Not funny. Seriously, what are you going to do?
Well, I’ve got you, haven’t I? I do enjoy these little chats of ours in the Comments Bar & Grill. What are you drinking? My shout.
Thanks, I’m flattered and I’ll post my order in the Comments. But don’t you think flesh and blood socialising might also be a good idea?
Well, I have started going to group classes at the gym.
I guess that’s a start. Although, how do you hold a conversation while you’re bouncing around and sweating profusely?
It can be done. After all, I came up with this whole Intentional/Incidental social concept while I was running thirty kilometres, didn’t I?
Thirty kilometres?? You ran thirty kilometres? Okay, I think you may have more problems than I thought.
Very funny. I’ve finished my drink. It’s your shout.
Uh, right. What are you having?
Gin. And as you’re buying, make it a double.
*My fingers kept wanting to type “Socialist” but that’s a whole other discussion.